Funding your year abroad

 Travel money

A year abroad is undoubtedly one of the best opportunities that is available to you during your undergraduate career. It is a privilege and an experience to be proud of and remember throughout your university and professional life. 

 Tuition fees

 If you registered before September 2012 and are classed as Home/EU for fee purposes then you won’t have to pay any tuition fees for the year abroad if you spend a full year on an Erasmus placement.

If you registered before September 2012 and are classed as Home/EU for fee purposes and you are spending a whole academic year outside of the EU, or one semester in the EU and one semester outside the EU, then you will pay 50% of your normal tuition fee for the year abroad.

If you are starting your degree after September 2012 and are classed as Home/EU for fee purposes, then you will need to pay 15% of the tuition fee for the year abroad if spending the whole academic year abroad.
Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes and spend an entire year abroad will pay 50% of the tuition fee.

If you decide to study abroad for just one semester (on those courses which permit it), your normal tuition fee is payable.

Many North American universities charge various ancillary fees which are not included in the exchange. These will generally be a few hundred dollars per semester.

Student loans and grants

UK students undertaking a year abroad are entitled to the normal student funding package (Tuition fee loan, Maintenance Loan and Maintenance Grants). You will also receive a higher rate of Maintenance Loan known as the ‘away rate’. You should apply for this funding the same way as in previous years, via Student Finance England or relevant agency

If your tuition fee loan is usually paid through a student loans company you should apply as usual for your year abroad. Please ensure that you apply promptly to avoid any delays later in the year.

If you are studying at one or more overseas universities for the full academic year, you may also be entitled to a higher rate of maintenance loan or grant.

You may be eligible for a maintenance loan or grant for your year abroad even if you have not been for the first two years of your study.

You must be studying at an overseas institution or on an overseas work placement in an Erasmus year in order to qualify for the overseas rate of maintenance loan or grant.

If you will be on a work placement outside the Erasmus scheme, you will receive the same as a student on work placement in the United Kingdom and this is likely to be less than you have had for your previous years of study.

If you do qualify for the overseas rate of maintenance loan or grant you can also apply for a Travel Grant through the student loans company.

This can help with travel to and from your host university, with extra health insurance costs, and with local travel to and from the university once you are on your year abroad.

You can find an up to date copy of the Travel Grant Fact sheet on the Student finance forms and guides pages online.

Your eligibility for all loans and grants will depend on your personal circumstances and you will need to complete your student finance application online to be assessed for tuition fee and maintenance loans or grants from the student loans company.

You can find information about applying for your student loans online and if you have any queries about your loans or grants that come from the student loans companies, or details about their application forms you will need to contact them directly.

None of the staff here will have access to your student loan company application.

Advice for your application

When you update your details on your student finance application, you will need to make sure that you;

Update your fee amount to show what you will be asked to pay for your year abroad, even if this is £0.

Complete the “Where will you be?” section which then lets you indicate what you will be doing on your year abroad.

You will need to select “Study Abroad” if your placement is at a University overseas.

You will only need to select “Placement in the UK or Abroad” if your placement is work related. This applies even if your work placement is covered by the Erasmus scheme.

Teaching Assistants - the guidance notes online state: “Do not count periods of teaching practice as a placement, so if you are studying an ITT course, tick University or College.”.

This does not apply if you are on a placement as a teaching assistant abroad.

This only applies to those on teacher training programmes as their main programme (i.e. a B.Ed. or a BA / BSc with Qualified Teacher Status).   If you are on a placement as a teaching assistant, you will need to select “Placement in the UK or Abroad”

Make sure that you read all the questions very carefully and answer yes if you are asked if you have to go abroad for the majority of any term as part of your course.

Complete details of your placement in the sections provided on the online application.

When asked about payment for your placement, please be aware: you are only counted as being paid for your placement if it is work related, you are not studying at a University, and if you are receiving a wage or salary from your placement company. Any Erasmus grant monies are not classed as being paid for your placement. Any reimbursement for out of pocket expenses by your placement company are not classed as being paid for your placement.

Once you have completed your online application, you will be asked for confirmation of your year abroad details. The Taught Student Administration team will send out a statement letter for you as evidence once your placement details are finalised in about April or May of your second year.

If you are sent a course abroad form to be completed instead of or as well as this statement letter, the Taught Student Administration team will be able sign that once your placement details have been finalised.

Student Hardship Fund (SHF)

The Student Hardship Fund (SHF) is provided by the University to help students who are experiencing genuine and unavoidable financial difficulties and are struggling with their living costs. The SHF is a discretionary grant, offering support of up to £2,500 in an academic year which does not need to be paid back. 

For more information visit Student Hardship Fund.

Erasmus Grant

Students planning a year abroad in an EU country are entitled to an Erasmus Grant from the British Council. The amount available varies each year but is normally the equivalent of around 225 euros per month.

The British Council release the figures in November each year.  For more information visit the British Council Website.

The award is paid in 2 instalments into the student’s nominated bank account. The first instalment is paid in December and the second instalment is paid in June.  Payments are made in pounds sterling.

This funding can be paid into a British or Euro account; however a euro account may incur additional charges.

The Erasmus grant has been confirmed by the British Council until 2013/14.

US Loans

Exchange students who are in receipt of US federal or private student loans should note that the loans must be processed by the home university in the United States, not by the University of Birmingham. This also applies to GI Bill funding. Study abroad students who are paying fees to the University of Birmingham will usually have their loans processed by the home university, but students who do not remain registered with their university in the United States during the period away may have difficulty with that. For further help and advice please visit our Fees and Funding page and Loans for International Students

Other funding available 

BUTEX scholarships for UK students studying abroad outside of Europe and for students from outside of Europe studying abroad in the UK.

DUO - Singapore Exchange Fellowships Award There are a limited number of awards available for students undertaking their year abroad in the National University of Singapore. 

Endeavour Awards are for students studying abroad in Australia and for Australian students studying abroad (the Australian Government provides funds to Australian universities which then allocate these scholarships, so please contact your Australian university's study abroad office for information). 

Fund for Education Abroad, scholarships for American students studying abroad.

Gilman Scholarships for America students studying abroad in the UK.

Hong Kong Scholarships for Excellence for UK students undertaking study abroad in Hong Kong.

JASSO Scholarships for year abroad students going to Japan.

The University of Kansas offers scholarships for exchange students who play rugby.  Please email for further details.

British Council Korea 2014 UK Student Mobility Award
Application deadline 7 February 2014
Ten students will be awarded a round trip airfare to the value of £1,200, up to a maximum of three students per institution. Students’ studies may include a summer school, a term exchange, a year exchange and a full degree study but not a short exploratory visit
For further information please contact Joohee Ban.

Korea University offers various scholarships, please visit their website for more details.

Santander Scholarship - If you choose and are selected to attend an institution in one of the countries listed below in 2014/15, then you will be eligible to apply for a Santander Scholarship. Santander provides a number of scholarships worth up to a maximum amount of £1000 each. Successful applicants will be expected to act as a student ambassador during their study period abroad and upon their return to the University. Further information will be available once your placement has been confirmed. Countries: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Spain and Portugal.  If you are interested in applying for one of these scholarships, please complete an application form.

Ningbo International Student Government Scholarships.   For students going to The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, please email for further details.

The University of Sao Paulo has funding opportunities, please visit the  USP International Grant Program website for further information.

U21 Year Abroad Scholarship There are 8 scholarships available worth £1000 each for students travelling to a Universitas 21 institution.  For more information contact Matt Clulee at

Generation UK.  British Council funding for students going to China.

Departmental Funding

Some Schools and Departments within the University of Birmingham offer awards specific to their students  and subjects. These awards can change each year depending on available funding. You should contact the Department that you are studying with for information on awards available this year.